Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is very successful in restoring vision.  In fact, it is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States; more than 1.5 million cataract surgeries are done each year. 

How will I know if I have cataracts?
The most common symptoms of cataracts are: glare, hazy or filmy vision, and need for more light to read.

When should I have cataract surgery?
You should have surgery if your vision interferes with daily activities such as: driving, reading, computer tasks, watching TV or work.

Conventional Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery removes the natural lens of the eye after it has become clouded over time. A permanent artificial lens is implanted to replace the natural lens and provide clearer vision.

Currently, most aspects of cataract surgery, including the first incisions and the breakup and removal of the cataract, are performed with a blade. An ultrasound instrument is used to break up the cataract and remove it from the eye. After the surgery, you will have clearer vision without the blur of the cataract.  However, this surgery does not correct your vision and you will still need to wear glasses as you did before the surgery.  Usually a new prescription for glasses will be given 4-6 weeks after the surgery.

Traditional cataract surgery is very effective and successful. People who do not want to invest out-of-pocket money in laser cataract surgery can still feel confident about the traditional approach.

Laser Cataract Surgery
For those who want the best possible vision, Laser Cataract Surgery is an option.  The surgeon can create all incisions with the laser with more precision than a blade. Advanced imaging systems provide real-time video and 3D visualization, enabling the surgeon to tailor a treatment plan for your eyes. A more accurate incision, capsulotomy and astigmatic correction will help you rely less on glasses after cataract surgery.

Laser Cataract Surgery is a premium enhanced procedure that is not covered by Medicare and other insurances. It requires out-of-pocket payment from the patient. Patients will receive details on the cost of their procedure during the surgery counseling process.

What are the risks of cataract surgery?

Although this procedure is commonly performed and is very safe, all surgeries have risks including but not limited to: infection, bleeding, high or low eye pressures, droopy eyelid, pain, inflammation, swelling, retinal detachment, loss of vision.

In rare cases, some people will experience an unexplained increase in glare, flickering lights, or shadows in their vision. Usually this will go away with time, but this cannot be guaranteed. 

Cataract surgery is a medical procedure that will remove the blur from your vision. If you had to wear glasses before surgery, you will likely still need to do so after surgery. 

You may see more floaters after surgery. Please call us so we can determine if you need to be seen sooner than your postoperative scheduled visit. Often, people will see the same floaters that they have always had more clearly after surgery as the cataract is now gone.

You may notice more puffiness, swelling, or wrinkles around the eyes after surgery. Cataract surgery does not cause this. Often, you will become more aware of your eyelid appearance with the eyelids not being hidden by eyeglass frames or due to clearer vision.

Cataract Surgery Options

There are 2 main types of cataract surgery: traditional and laser.

Traditional surgery
In traditional cataract surgery a small cut is made in the eye using a scalpel. Ultrasound waves are used to dissolve the cataract. A new plastic lens is then put into the eye.

This surgery is covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. Check with your plan to see if you are covered.

Laser surgery
Laser surgery uses a computer-guided laser to make cuts in the cornea. The laser softens and breaks up the cataract so that it dissolves more easily. The laser also helps measure more precisely where to place the new lens.

Removing the cataract is covered by most insurance plans. However, the laser incision and measuring are considered optional and are not covered by insurance.

Lens Implant Options
You may choose from 3 types of lenses to replace your natural lens:

  1. Monofocal (single-vision): This type of lens is usually covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. Because it can only correct for one distance (far, near, or in between), you may still need glasses, particularly if you have astigmatism.
  2. Toric (for astigmatism): This type of lens corrects astigmatism. You will still need glasses for near (reading) and medium (computer) distances. Toric lenses are optional. They are not usually covered by insurance.
  3. Multifocal: Multifocal lenses are designed to correct vision near, far and in-between. Like toric lenses, they are optional and not usually covered by insurance.